Choros #12

Appleby Catalogue W number: 

This sprawling work contains lots of great stuff: big tunes, interesting rhythms, and felicitous bits of orchestration.  Choros #12 isn't well enough known yet for us give a definitive verdict about its true value.  I happen to think that the Choros series is the absolute pinnacle of Villa-Lobos's body of works.  My impression, from having listened to this work fairly closely, is that #12 is in the second tier of Choros, and perhaps not up to the level of #1, 5, 8, and 10.  Still, it's a valuable work and one of Villa's great, big orchestral "things".

This excellent review by Bert Berenschot (whose opinion I value very highly!) is a good introduction to the work.

The work was dedicated to Jose Candido de Andrade Muricy.

You can listen to Choros #12 in this archived radio program (streaming Windows Media format) from Portugal's Antena 2:

Jul 12, 2008
Choros Nº3
Picapau; Nº12 ; Nº5 and Nº2


Year Composed: 
Orchestral Works
2 piccolos 3 flutes 3 oboes English horn
3 clarinets bass clarinet 2 saxophones 3 bassoons
contrabassoon 8 horns 4 trumpets 4 trombones
tuba timpani tam-tam cymbals
cuica bombo xylophone tambor
celesta 2 harps piano strings

The work is published by Max Eschig.  The autograph score (227 pp.) is in the Museu Villa-Lobos.


Great news: a new recording of this great piece, and from an excellent source: Complete Choros v.3 (BIS)

For years the only modern recording of this work: Pierre Bartholomee conducts the Liege Philharmonic Orchestra in a 2000 recording from Cypres.  Luckily, this is an excellent recording.  Unluckily, the note is "This item has been discontinued by the manufacturer."  So we'll need to watch out for left-over stock in online and real-world stores, and to check out used stores and eBay.



This would be an expensive work to stage; there are no records in the HVL Concert Calendar as of August 2008.

An important historic performance: February 23, 1945 - Villa-Lobos conducted the premiere of Choros No. 12 with the Boston Symphony.